The only thing more terrifying than being stuck on a roller coaster is being stuck at the highest part of the ride. And the only thing more terrifying than that is if it happens to be one of those coasters where you’re hanging upside down from a harness, leaving nothing but 30m of free-fall space between you and the ground.
That’s the nightmare that 32 thrill-seeking visitors had to endure yesterday at the Universal Studios Japan theme park, in Osaka. A faulty safety mechanism caused two of the cars on the Jurassic Park-themed Flying Dinosaur ride to come to a sudden stop. One car was already near the boarding station, but the second was just about to go over the first hill – the tallest part of the ride.
I’m only afraid of heights when I don’t feel as though I have a secure footing. Skyscrapers don’t bother me, and flying is totally cool, but feeling like I’m dangling 30m above the ground? That’s pure nightmare fuel.
The location of the breakdown was especially challenging for rescue workers who had to first raise a maintenance platform to safely remove passengers from their harnesses, and then help them precariously climb down the tower’s support structure.
It took about two hours for everyone to be rescued, and the coaster was repaired and operating test runs just two hours after the incident occurred. Although, it’s doubtful that anyone in the park who saw the whole thing go down would be willing to climb aboard again so soon.